Zelotes nilicola

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Current valid name

Zelotes nilicola (O. Pickard-Cambridge) (family Gnaphosidae)

Recognition and diagnostic features

Small black spider. Spinnerets in this family are diagnostic in that they are composed of one segment and are cylindrical (most spiders are two-segments and conical).

Related or similar species

Phrurotimpus mateonus, Erigone dentosa


Body lengths when mature: male: 2.75 ± 0.43 mm, female: 2.95 ± 0.28 mm

Immatures resemble miniature adults, although they may be lighter in color when small.

Egg sac

Description: flat-bottomed, flattened cone sac usually placed in a depression, so heavily covered with detritus that it would be highly unlikely to discover one in the field, probably always laid on bark and never on or in grapes, eggs are oblong like a jelly bean rather than round

Number of eggs per sac: 10.9 ± 2.7

Size of egg: 0.64 ± 0.039 mm

Time of year eggs are likely to be laid: at least in July, possibly before and after


In California: southern portion of state

Elsewhere: Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Burkino Faso

Not native to North America

This species has been transported or become established outside of its range.


Hunting spider. Probably nocturnal or active in litter. Can be found under vine bark.

Status in table grapes

Level of Incidence: uncommon

Level of Concern in New Zealand: WPNZ (May 2010) nr, BORIC (Dec 2011) nr (not listed), MAF-BPRA (2002) nr (coding definition)

Level of Concern in Australia: WPAU (2006) nr (coding definition)

Level of Medical importance: none

Common name

None for species, ground spiders for family

Taxonomic history

Several synonyms from 19th century Europe, but stable in the 20th century.

Selected references

Platnick, N. I., and M. U. Shadab. 1983. A revision of the American spiders of the genus Zelotes (Araneae, Gnaphosidae). Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 174: 97-192.